Chatter

updated 07/01/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/01/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

DOG DAY AFTERNOON: Taxi, a black Labrador retriever owned by Jane Fonda and husband Tom Hayden, recently escaped from the couple's Santa Monica house, only to be picked up by a marauding youth gang. According to police the gang committed at least six street robberies with the dog in tow. Four suspects were arrested, but Taxi was released to an animal shelter, where the Haydens' caretaker identified him. "We're not going to stick him in a lineup," said detective John Hudson. Said Hayden: "Taxi is innocent. He was obviously dog-napped. Some people," he added, "are already comparing Taxi to Patty Hearst."

MY SON THE ROCK STAR: The parents of Duran Duran have formed a "support group" to help them cope with the problems of having pop idols for sons. The Duran Parents Association—DPA for short—meets informally in the Birmingham suburbs where the boys grew up. "It's a big comfort for us to all join up and talk about what's been happening," says Roger Bates, whose son is keyboardist Nick Rhodes. On Nick's birthday last month, hundreds of teenage girls kept watch on Bates' lawn, and more than 50 knocked on the door. Says Nick's dad: "It was getting a bit much." Guitarist John Taylor's father, Jack, a retired sales manager, says, "The band's success has been hard for us to assimilate, but we're trying to lead a normal existence and keep our sons' feet on the ground."

DADS, MORE DADS: At a "Fathers of the Year" banquet sponsored by the West Coast Father's Day Council, Billy Dee Williams—one of the honorees—complained, "I said to my son, Cory, 'Guess what? I've been chosen Father of the Year!' He said, 'Good joke, Dad.' Then I said to my wife, 'I'm gonna be Father of the Year,' and she looked at me as if I were the last choice they had. My daughter just wanted to know if Duran Duran was going to be here." Solid Gold host Rick Dees, another honoree, added, "People might think that since I'm in radio, I might not make a good father. But I've told my son, Kevin, if he needs me at any time, all he has to do is pick up the phone, dial the radio station, and if he's the 10th caller...no problem."

THIS UNIVERSITY RATED "R": Parents of college-bound teens: Take a lesson from Joel Schumacher, the director of St. Elmo's Fire. Schumacher claims he wasn't allowed to film at Georgetown University—a Jesuit-run school—"because of the premarital sex in the movie." But, he says, "It didn't matter. The University of Maryland was only too happy to have us."

KILLER BEATLE: Paul McCartney, who sends his children to public schools, lashed out at his son's teachers when he learned they were on strike. McCartney drove James, 7, to school near the singer's country home in southern England, only to find three teachers picketing outside the building. "Were your teachers on strike when you were in school?" demanded McCartney, who later explained that he was upset because "it's the innocent who are suffering—the kids." The educators were demanding pay increases, and one of them handed McCartney a leaflet. "He sat in his car reading it," said the teacher, Brian Moses. "Then he made sure we were watching while he tore it up."

GETTING A HEAD START: George Wendt, who plays rotund, suds-guzzling Norm Peterson on Cheers, told the Chicago Sun-Times he was made for the role. "When I put a couple of six packs on top of my grocery cart, people are pleased," said Wendt. "I tell 'em I'm taking them home to rehearse."

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